During a four-year college career, most students take roughly 40 courses. Personally, I went to graduate school for another 7 years after college, taking an additional 40 – 50 more classes. During my entire undergraduate, masters and doctoral experience, I never had one single African American professor.
This experience made the educational process incredibly uncomfortable for me. I never experienced the privilege of my white classmates, who had teachers they could relate to, work with and connect with on a meaningful level. I did meet one African American professor (I never took his class) named Dr. Tommy Whittler. He is the sole reason I became a professor today because he was the first faculty member who’d ever taken time to mentor me as a human being.
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President – Bennett College
My cellphone pinged on Saturday to say I had a message. I was in the middle of lunch and chose to ignore it. When I picked it up a couple of hours later, I felt the same sickness that millions did, learning that Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford was shot in an assassination attempt. Television news bubbled over with the news, with fact, spin, and interpretation. Would all 435 members of Congress need ramped up security? Was hate speech the basis of this shooting? I even saw Neil Boortz, the peripatetic Atlanta lawyer and talk show host suggest that President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama had been guilty of some of the same hate speech that the right has been accused of. Please.
The talk about hate speech, however, is important and I’m going to own my part of it, and apologize. A bazillion years ago (actually in 1992) I made a wisecrack about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Anyone who knows me would see it as a wisecrack, but those who don’t saw it as hate speech. Here’s the background. Thomas said he would live to be 120 to stay on the court to frustrate liberals. I replied that the average black man had a life expectancy of about 65, and that if his wife fed him lots of butter and eggs (if her recent call to Anita Hill is any indication she isn’t cooking much these days), ingredients for high cholesterol and heart trouble, he’d die an early death. Conservatives called it a death wish. Death by breakfast, I responded, still in jest. As if someone were standing over Thomas with an Uzi forcing him to eat that butter and eggs. The wisecrack has to be taken even less seriously if Justice Thomas’ purported commitment to physical fitness and working out is taken into consideration.
With the new Republican-led Congress comes the excited arrival of Birthers, Tea Partiers and other strange characters who are seeking to undermine the political stability of our great nation. The week ended with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, with the sheriff of the town implying that racial animosity and divisive rhetoric of the Right Wing played a role in creating the atmosphere where a political leader was shot in the face and a little girl was killed.
The language of the Tea Party has consisted mostly of thinly-veiled animosity thrust toward the black man in the Oval Office who doesn’t seem to know his place. The idea of "taking back America" and "returning America to its roots," can be translated to saying that America isn’t a country that’s supposed to be run by that " hoity-toity, high fallutin, black guy with the Muslim name."
So, what better way to celebrate new-found Republican power than to read the United States Constitution out loud in the chambers of Congress? Sure, we might bore the heck out of a few lawmakers and waste a day that could be spent doing something productive, but why aim for substance when symbolism is a far better marketing tool?
The other night on the Oprah Winfrey Christmas special, President Barack Obama made an unwise move. When asked what grade he deserves as president, Obama gave himself a B+. Giving himself a grade was not necessarily the best decision, since there are over 300 million Americans who then realized that they should be giving him grades as well.
So, allow me to be the first to provide our president with a grade for his performance. I’ve been giving grades to college students for the last 16 years, and one thing my students will tell you is that I am fair. My other argument is that I never actually GIVE you a grade; I simply report the grade that you’ve earned.
1) Handling of the Economy (B-): President Obama is better than John McCain ever could have been when it comes to managing our economic downturn. The problem is that while the president has spiraled our deficit out of control, our nation has yet to see any concrete evidence that the economy’s fundamental strength has returned. He has made an enemy out of Wall Street by grandstanding around executive pay issues, but he has lost the backing of Main Street because job losses continue to mount. That’s the problem with always reaching across the isle: Sometimes, you don’t have firm support on either side of it. The president’s inability to translate massive spending into real jobs is going to cost him big time.
2) Management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (B): On one hand, the president must face the stern reality that you can’t just walk out of a war in the middle of it. We all know that Bush got us into these messes, and Obama must get us out. At the same time, Obama pledged to get us out of the wars faster than he is actually doing it, and it is incredibly awkward for a man to accept a Nobel Peace Prize while simultaneously escalating the troop presence in an occupied country. Sure Obama didn’t give himself the Nobel Prize, but he still must be held accountable.
by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President: Bennett College
Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, the first woman President of Lincoln University, has a name that reflects her reality. Niara means woman of high purpose, and that she is, indeed. After leaving Lincoln University in 1998, she traveled and consulted, and has recently been scholar-in-residence at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last week, she donated her papers and personal library, including more than 3800 books, 4100 issues of journals and periodicals, plaques and other collectibles, including the outfit she wore when she was enstooled as a chief in the Ife Kingdom of Nigeria. This is a sister and scholar whose name ought to be spoken frequently among African American people, especially those who have concerns about the African American family, and those who have interests in things African. We are more likely to know entertainers, however, than we are to know scholars. This is a scholar certainly worth knowing.
I had the honor of traveling to Fort Lauderdale to help salute Dr. Sudarkasa on the occasion of her very generous gift (valued at more than $270,000) to the library. In thinking about Niara’s life and career, I was especially focused on the work she has done as an Africanist and anthropologist, long before it was fashionable for African American people to look at our African roots. Indeed, Niara learned Yoruba as part of her doctoral work and studies the work that women did in African society for her dissertation. Her early work lays the foundation for contemporary work on linkages between Africa and the United States.
Marvin Lynn, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Faculty Affiliate, African American Studies
University of Illinois at Chicago
I think he deserves the award because, as they said, he has established a different tone in the world. Two years ago, America was despised around the world. This is not the case today. Of course people still have criticisms of our policies etc but our global neighbors hated Bush so much that it was making global travel a frightening experience for Americans. There has been a shift in how people see us. That is directly tied to President Obama’s diplomatic stance on a variety of issues.
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon
Political Science Professor at Howard University
Host of “On with Leon” – Sirius/XM Satellite
This is an incredible personal accomplishment for the Obama’s, a wonderful international recognition of the shift in American foreign policy, and a compliment to the intelligence of the American electorate The Nobel committee is acknowledging the positive shift away from the unilateral exclusionary foreign policy of the Bush 43′ administration to the multilateral inclusionary foreign policy direction of the Obama administration. The illegal invasions of sovereign nations, torture, and the ignoring of ecological issues of the Bush 43′ administration only brought instability and insecurity for America and the rest of the world. President Obama offers hope through honest diplomacy and open dialog. This is the true path towards peace and security for all.
From MSNBC’s TheGrio.com
Uncle Ben from Spiderman made the most prophetic statement of the entire film series in his dying days (I almost cried, but don’t tell anybody): “With great power comes great responsibility.” Most of us understood what Uncle Ben was trying to say, and that includes Barack Obama.
Uncle Ben should have been the keynote speaker at the latest G-20 Summit, taking place this week in Pittsburgh,PA. The G-20 Summit is a gathering of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the world’s 19 wealthiest countries, plus the European Union. These countries encompass 85 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, so they would probably meet Uncle Ben’s qualification for “great power,” at least when it comes to money.
The G-20 Summit’s primary objective is to achieve broad cooperation on the preservation of international financial stability. The motivations of the group, created in 1999, are seemingly noble and make perfect sense in light of the fact that the global economy has reached an unprecedented level of integration. If large nations do not work together, the world’s financial system will be subject to alarming amounts of volatility.
Not everyone can see the vision behind G-20 ambitions. Usually, the gatherings of the G-20 are as out of control as a frat party, as protesters have made a game out of disrupting the meetings as much as they possibly can. To prepare for this year’s economic fiesta, the city of Pittsburgh has brought in 4,000 police, 2,000 National Guard troops and 11 Coast Guard vessels.
Police, in an overwhelming show of force, declared Thursday’s march illegal almost as soon as it began, firing rubber bullets and canisters of pepper spray and smoke after small bands of anarchists responded to calls to disperse by rolling huge metal trash bins, throwing rocks and breaking windows. As of Friday morning, reports said nearly 70 people had been arrested and police were bracing for scattered protests around downtown.
President Obama, being the conflicted capitalist/black man/ex-community organizer that he is, made some telling comments about the demonstrators.
A few years ago, Dr. Cornel West wrote an outstanding book called "Race Matters." In the book, he explains why a post-racial America is not yet a reality. Race certainly matters in our nation, and we don’t need to look any further than the anti-Obama lynch mobs to find evidence of this fact.
What is most interesting is that the people who hate Obama for being black don’t even realize that this is the reason they hate him. That’s how the social sickness called "racism" sneaks into the very fabric of the social infrastructure on which our country operates.
President Obama’s recent experience is yet another reminder that the disease of racism has its greatest impact on those who think they’ve been cured. In spite of his continuous efforts to "just get along" with those on the right wing, they have insisted upon engaging in some of the most pathetic, thug-like behavior imaginable, creating a climate unlike anything our country has seen in the last 30 years.
If you think this has nothing to do with Obama being black, you need to open a history book. Lynch mobs rarely attacked a black man just for being black. They attacked him for being black and doing something that white people found to be unacceptable.
From AOL Black Voices
Were there any racial implications to the recent outbursts by Serena Williams and Kanye West? Yes, there were. In my latest conversation with Rev. Al Sharpton, we break down these interesting events, all of which occurred during the past week. We can agree, however, that there are certainly things more important than worrying about Serena Williams and Kanye West. But these situations, in light of the backdrop of Obama’s comments about Kanye, might provide true teachable moments regarding America’s tattered racial history.As I’ve written before, Serena and Kanye have a lot in common, but nothing in common, all at the same time. Serena’s actions were justifiable, given the intensity of the situation and the fact that the line judge made the wrong call. At the same time, most of us can agree that Serena went over the line by threatening to "shove the ball down the f**ing throat" of the line judge because of her mistake. Yes, Serena, you are from the hood. But you don’t need to take it back to the hood to make your point to a U.S. Open line judge.
President Obama’s presidency is in peril for two primary reasons. The first, his inability to be a transformational leader to an American public hungry for it is of his own making. The second, the thinly veiled demonstration of racism unskillfully disguised as “concern for country” is both to be expected and not of his own making.
First, President Obama came into to office promising “change that we can believe in.” However, on the signature issue of change, health care reform, he has not led; choosing instead to send a litany of mixed messages as to whether he would turn the Byzantine labyrinth that is the American health care system on its head. A transformational leader takes bold, decisive, innovative action if he or she believes that it is right for the country. Thus far, on health care, the President has not demonstrated transformational leadership; he has pledged fidelity to the status quo.
- Obama prepares for pivotal health care speech
- Michael Vick warns students about the dangers of peer pressure
- Welcome to the age of "No Child Left Un-Politicized"
This week, Michael Jordan will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He will always be remembered for his many accomplishments and record-breaking achievements in the sport. However, as President Obama prepares to put on a full-court press for health care reform in a speech to Congress tonight, he needs only to look back at one performance from "His Airness" to gain inspiration.
Twelve years ago, in the NBA Finals, Michael Jordan was going to lose. Sick with the flu, he could barely walk, and his aura of invincibility had been shattered in the eyes of the American public. Mike was going to finally relinquish one of his many titles and Karl Malone was going to get the championship that we all now know he never received.
But Mike was Mike, and Karl wasn’t. Mike found a way to win and Karl Malone found a way to become "posterized" as yet another footnote in the astonishing legacy of the great Michael Jordan. Every great man or woman has an opportunity to build his or her legend, and it comes during the most trying of times. It is how we respond to these moments that make the difference between becoming Michael Jordan or just another Charles Barkley.
Professor Larry Moore at The University of Memphis is on a mission. The African American professor has decided to take on his campus for not being diverse enough. Dr. Moore has done what black professors and students across America are doing, which is holding their campuses accountable for their lack of desire to recruit, promote, and reward faculty of color. This issue affects everyone, since most black college students never have the chance to be taught by an African American without taking courses in the African American Studies Department.
In an open letter written to state legislators, Dr. Moore has made his issue clear to the American public and put his university "on blast" for problematic recruitment and retention procedures. As a fellow business school professor myself, I say to Dr. Moore, "Way to go brother."
He’s back. After a 2 year saga that kept my head spinning, the young man who made a terrible mistake is finally being allowed to make a living. I have supported Michael Vick all along, but not because I felt that he was innocent. I’ve supported him because I do not believe that dog fighting is the kind of crime that deserves a lifetime punishment. So, to the extremists at PETA who want to see Michael Vick burn in the hell of unemployment and incarceration for the rest of his life, I only have one thing to say: grow up.
Michael Vick’s reinstatement to the NFL and recent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles unleashed a plethora of thoughts within me. On some level, his return is a bit of an "Athletic Juneteenth" for those who tire of seeing our country make African American athletes into public enemy number one whenever they screw up. To this day, we act as if Marion Jones is the devil, Barry Bonds is a monster, and Terrell Owens is some kind of criminal. This treatment is nothing new, as black athletes have been getting villified for decades, and their molehills are consistently turned into mountains, ripe for high-tech lynchings. This is the tradition of America.
It only seems appropriate that Michael Vick sign his contract in a city like Philadelphia, the place that I love and fear at the same time. I love the city because they’ve supported me in my work with the great Wendy Williams, Dom Giordano andCharlamagne Tha God. But there is a dark side of "Killadelphia" that shows itself in the way they support their sports teams. They are the fans that cheered when it appeared that Michael Irvin may have broken his neck, so they sure as heck aren’t going to pay much attention to animal rights protestors blocking their path to a Super Bowl. In a city like Philly, the slogan is simple: "If you win, we forgive all sin." Vick will be right at home.